Thursday

Obama, Gates, Crowley:Beer Cures Racism. Who knew?


What’s worse; missing a chance to weigh in on an important issue or opening your mouth before you have all the facts and finding you have firmly planted your foot in said mouth? I would be willing to bet for President Obama it is that later not the former.

Having foot firmly ensconced in mouth Obama seeks the assistance of a cop and a professor to perform a most delicate footectomy this week.

MSNBC and the associated press opined recently regarding the issue (excerpts in bold):

Cambridge cop, Harvard professor to join Obama for brews at White House

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama must once again hit the pause button in his drive to overhaul health care to revisit the racially charged issue that stole the spotlight from his top legislative priority — the arrest of his Harvard professor friend.

This is the fundamental flaw in logic that has plagued Obama; the issue did not steal the spotlight, his thoughtless ramblings on the subject did. At some point everyone involved in this racially charged fiasco is going to have to step back and take a breath.

Obama, Cambridge, Mass., police Sgt. James Crowley and Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., will meet at the White House on Thursday, each one drinking his favorite beer, in a public attempt to move past the emotional event.

While I agree that a beer can solve most of life’s annoyances this issue may transcend the ability of carbonated libations. It may be better to serve a glass full of alum in an attempt to stop the flow of sound bites long enough for the parties to actually listen to each other rather than scrambling for the moral high ground.

Obama convened the "beer summit" after calling both men last week in an attempt to defuse the political fallout from his comment at a news conference that police had "acted stupidly" in arresting Gates at his home after responding to a call from a passer-by about a possible break-in.

And isn’t this what it’s really all about? Let’s all sit down around some cold beer and figure out how to extricate my ass from the political hot seat.

He invited both men over for beer, to be served at a picnic table near his Oval Office if thunderstorms forecast for Thursday hold off.

Thunderstorms are looming though the storms seemed to have been precipitated by thoughtless comments rather than the condensation of moisture in the upper atmosphere.

Gates, who is black, was taken into custody by Crowley, who is white, after Crowley accused him of disorderly conduct for protesting the policeman's actions. The charges were later dropped.

What if every news story was accompanied by similar notations of color: “Today clouds, that were black, hung over the city of Atlanta, which is gray. It rained until the clouds turned white and the sun, which is orange, shone through.” “On interstate four, which is black, an SUV, which is white, slammed carelessly into yellow Volkswagen stated several witnesses who were brown.” Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? So why do we allow this type of race baiting in our news?

The comments by Obama, the nation's first black president, inflamed matters further, and the subsequent outcry and constant commentary reached such a pitch that he was forced to acknowledge that he could have been more diplomatic with his words.

"Over the last two days as we've discussed this issue, I don't know if you've noticed, but nobody has been paying much attention to health care," Obama lamented to reporters last Friday.

Uh, whose fault is that? Given this administrations efficiency for obscuring issues with subterfuge I would almost think this was intentional. The truth is I would rather the American public be focused on health care and not ancillary non-issues.

Crowley is looking forward to the meeting, according to a spokeswoman for Cambridge and Massachusetts police unions that support him. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Crowley is bringing family members with him.

Andy Meyer, one of Crowley's softball teammates, said, "He's aware it's a big opportunity to meet the president, but my friend Jim is a charming guy and I won't be surprised if the president and Professor Gates find him to be as pleasant as he is."

Harvard Law School professor Charles Ogletree, an attorney for Gates, said late Wednesday: "This will be an important opportunity for the moment to settle their dispute, but also create a springboard for a larger discussion about how law enforcement interacts with minority communities and how we can figure out a way to both enforce the law but also protect civil liberties and civil rights of our citizens."

Maybe they should also be examining the other side of that coin as well to wit: the way minorities interact with law enforcement.

Gates will be accompanied by his father, fiancée, two daughters, brother, Ogletree and one of his close friends, Glen Hutchinson.

"No apologies will be expected or conveyed tomorrow," Ogletree said. "The idea is to extend an opportunity for people to meet others that they didn't know and they only met in the most tense of circumstances."

Maybe apologies should be the order of the day, otherwise what is the point? It has been my experience that given enough beer one of two outcomes is likely: 1. every one will be hugging and telling everyone else how much they love them or 2. there will be one hell of a barroom brawl. Let’s hope the Capital Police are more racially sensitive.

But the nation did hear for the first time from Lucia Whalen, the passer-by who placed the 911 call to report a possible break-in at Gates' home. In a trembling voice, Whalen said she was pained to be wrongly labeled a racist based on words she never said. Police said the caller had reported a possible break-in by two black men.

Tapes of the call released this week revealed that Whalen did not mention the race of the suspects. Only when pressed by a dispatcher did she say that one of the two men she saw at Gates' door might have been Hispanic.

I bristle at the characterization of dispatchers in the above paragraph. They are supposed to “press” callers for any and all details regarding a complaint. It may offend sensitivities to ask the race of an alleged perpetrator but it is entirely relevant to identifying the suspects. Race is just as important as clothing type, hair style and color, height, weight and any other identifying information.

Her attorney, Wendy Murphy, said the three men overreacted, while Whalen was the only one who remained cool.

Translated to “where is my fifteen minutes of fame?”

"The three highly trained guys who reacted badly are getting together for a beer," Murphy said. "The one person whose actions have been exemplary will be at work tomorrow in Cambridge. I don't know — maybe it's a guy thing. She doesn't like beer anyway."

This sounds like the ranting of a three year old throwing a trantrum...”I want to go to the store too…wah”.

It will be Bud Light for Obama, Blue Moon for Crowley and Red Stripe for Gates, the White House says.

I would be willing to bet that the choice of beer is the only story of note to come out of this whole mess. Of course I had Obama pegged as an imported beer drinker. It is nice to see he at least chose a good old American beer. One of the few choices he has made as of late that I can agree with.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing blog and very interesting stuff you got here! I definitely learned a lot from reading through some of your earlier posts as well and decided to drop a comment on this one!

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